long binh ammo dump explosion 1968

(Vietnam War period). As we made the turn eastward on Highway 1, the lead platoon was ambushed. Views of a number of huts, in the hamlet, that have not been destroyed. I was the DistrictSenior Advisor (Army) in Vinh Kim, Long Dinh District, right across the canal from Dong Tam in 1968-1969. Jim Love recalls lying in a ditch near a dead civilian as the friendly fire cracked over our heads. Tower ordered Charlie Company to attack eastward to clear the village of Ho Nai, a suburb of Bien Hoa. The probing attack units included VC sapper squads. During the morning of January 30, the 2-47 Mech was notified that the Tet cease-fire was canceled, and the unit was deployed into a defensive line along the road that ran around the east side of the Long Binh base. 6. At 0400 Jones ordered us to pull in our ambushes and be prepared to move. Whether they produced battlefield images of the dead or daguerreotype portraits of common soldiers, []. Bucks County Pennsylvania United States USA, Del Rio Texas Laughlin Air Force Base USA, Roxborough Pennsylvania United States USA, U-Tapao Royal Thai Air Force Base Thailand. On that fateful night, explosions began at the bomb dump, I immediately responded to CSC as the SP's . As I walked around the front of a track, the .50-caliber gunner accidentally hit the trigger and pumped five rounds into the ground about three feet in front of me. AMMUNITION DUMP. VC informants inside the base had provided detailed information as to the base layout and defenses. remember that my right shoulder and chest were black and blue from the 0.17 officer around. build bunkers, and help pick up the dead enemy across the fence. As we turned around to head back west, a tremendous blast shook the whole city of Bien Hoa. checkered) water tower by the main gate. As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. forever the big pieces stopped. Later, as the sun sank over the Long Binh base, they tossed a football and ate cold C rations. ". We all knew that these moves were more than just precautionary. According to him, I told him that any fool could see that the VC did not have M-113s, and that we had 22 .50-calibers and a 106mm recoilless rifle and they, for sure, did not want us to return fire. The North Vietnamese Army had circled This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History. My plan was to make captain and go to Vietnam as an experienced company commander. The S3 also told Charlie Companys noncombatants to report to battalion headquarters. Forget that, he said. "I was the 1SGT of the I remember one I had been in Vietnam about nine months. Charlie Companys 3rd Platoon was also detached for a security mission inside the base. License Agreement | Sugar Bear Dames, as he was called by his many friends, walked down a side alley toward the highway. To get to the church, we had to run a gantlet of fire, through the VC 238th Regiment and into the flank of the 275th, which was fighting the 2-47s scout platoon in Widows Village. trooper was injured by a piece of shrapnel that had come down 1. Realizing I had not eaten for 24 hours, I looked for some breakfast, but all I could find was a bag of pistachio nuts. At the meeting, I was joined by the S3 of a battalion from the 101st Airborne Division. As the afternoon of January 30 drifted toward dusk, Charlie Company soldiers stripped to the waist and dug bunkers next to their M-113s. Now the fight was on. The 2nd Platoon led the way under Lieutenant Fred Casper, followed by my track, then Lieutenant Howard Jones 1st Platoon and, finally, the weapons platoon under Lieutenant Don Muir. because Mankato (Minnesota)Vocational school had taught me to weld as To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Long Binh ammo dump was one of the SV AMERICAN SOLDIERS AND EXPLOSION We opened up with everything we had and kept driving. The ARVN general and III Corps G3 adviser, however, were not happy when we pulled out. mortar rounds and 90 122-mm. the bunker. Fighting our way to the scout platoon, we were stopped when we came upon two large churches, straddling Highway 1, each occupied by VC. Privacy Policy | Links At about 6 a.m., Lt. Col. John Tower, the new battalion commander, called with orders. We could ride, walk or be airlifted to war, travel great distances in a short amount of time, and arrive with many times the ammunition and equipment that could be lifted in by helicopter. Four men were killed and more than 20 wounded, including most of the officers. All I could think of to say was, Please clear that weapon!During the meeting, a master sergeant adviser to a Vietnamese ranger battalion ran into the compound. F-100 Super Sabre and F-4 Phantom II drop Mark 82 bombs in Vietnam during U.S. air strikes. We rolled through Long Binh and out the main gate, then turned onto Highway 316. As the C-23 track Stormy, which was in the lead, turned into a side street, an RPG slammed into its front, smashing the radiator and wounding several soldiers. This was no surprise to us, since we could hear the enemy rounds slamming into Long Binh. I realized we were driving past our objective, halted the company and called for the 2nd Platoon to find a place to turn around. Updated 7/26/2015. danger and the probable best course of action. United States officers and soldiers examine barbed wire fence where Vietcong broke through to enter Long Binh. License Agreement | Lieutenant Barnes and one of his soldiers would be awarded Distinguished Service Crosses for their heroism that day. 102 comments 105 shares. Company B, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, which was placed under the operational control of the 2-47, made a combat air assault under fire into the middle of the Widows Village battle and fought bravely beside the Panthers all day long. . APCs advance, firing 50 caliber machine guns. ", "We mustered everyone we could hightForP2 = 330 The attacks by Vietcong (VC) and People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces were one of several major attacks around Saigon in the first days of the Tet offensive. Then things started falling out of the sky. On the morning of 31 January 1968, the Bien Hoa Air Base, III Corps HQ, the Prisoner of War Compound, and other key installations around Bien Hoa--Long Binh area received enemy mortar and rocket fire. The 2nd Platoon took on the one on the north side of the road, and the 1st Platoon attacked the other. As 1st Lt. Brice Barnes led his scouts into Ho Nai, he ran full speed into a hornets nest. But no one would be leaving the country that day. Charlie Company was ordered to a large open field across Highway 15 from the Long Thanh airfield. Bravo Company (one member of which was Spc. Tower ordered Charlie Company to attack eastward to clear the village of Ho Nai, a Bien Hoa suburb. The VC who had fired the RPG slipped away, but Pfc Jim Love, who was tossed into a sewage ditch by the explosion, remembers killing the jeep with his M-16. into the bunkers. was a point where the Ho Chi Min Trail came close to the countrys West II Field Force commander LG Frederick C. Weyand had also ordered the 9th Infantry Division to be prepared to send its 1st Brigade from Bearcat Base 16km south of Long Binh to Bien Hoa-Long Binh in the event of an attack. Aerial view of (USARV) United States Army Republic of Vietnam Headquarters Complex at Long Binh, Vietnam. Sergeant John Ax, squad leader of 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, recalls what the fighting near III Corps was like: An RPG hit Shocker, the C-21 track, in the side; but it must have been a glancing blow, because it did not explode. LV EXPLOSIONS Service Battery 6/27th Besides the fireworks, ARVN soldiers had linked tracer bullets together and were stitching the darkness with weaving streams of machine gun fire. I was disappointed when I received orders to join the 9th Infantry Division. Page contents not supported in other languages. Painting outside. Hide. They ordered us to clear the VC from the houses surrounding the corps headquarters. ordnance pad in the huge ammo dump. The gun-jeeps were progressively replaced by M113s and XM-706 Commando armored cars. He waved me off. The explosion echoed over an area of 50 miles. Relevant to these events; post recollections and descriptions, questions,. The 2-47s enemy body count came in at more than 200, while the battalion suffered only four KIA. 14. There was much I had assumed I would be assigned to one of the battalions in the Delta where I could use my light infantry and Ranger school experience. We suffered more wounded during the trip back to III Corps, where I was called to a meeting in the headquarters. I had been in command for five months and had been assured that I would be in command for one year, which suited me fine. 0.35 We began detaining the well-dressed young men among the refugees. The armed helicopter teams had a field day shooting guerrillas who tried to escape to the nearby jungles. We packed up all of our gear, rolled up our concertina wire and waited. The mushroom cloud slowly dissipated after hours of [2]:3512 US losses in the fighting in the Widow's Village were three dead. The 2-47s scout platoon had just finished a brutal fight in Widows Village, and at 4 p.m., it was ordered to move to the junction of Highways 1 and 316, and to attack westward through the village of Ho Nai toward Charlie Company, in the hope of pinning the VC between us. As enemy resistance stiffened, we realized we had bottled at least a company of the VC 275th Regiment in the village. Anyone can read what you share. Over the two month recovery and clearing operation, tens of thousands of these hazardous munitions were recoverd by hand, one at a time. Policy was to fill in all holes and empty our sandbags when we left a position, to leave nothing the VC might use against us. Just then a three-man VC RPG team calmly walked across the street right in front of the damaged APC. We began to pop hand-held flares so they could see we were there, but the shooting persisted, one round hitting my track. It 939939. Advanced Search | I had inherited the job After the battles for the churches, there occurred one of the most bizarre incidents of the day. The VC who had fired the RPG slipped away, but Pfc Jim Love, who was tossed into a sewage ditch by the explosion, remembers killing the jeep with his M-16. The fog of war was especially thick on the morning of January 31, 1968. HANOI, North Vietnam, June 1 (Agence FrancePresse)An American major was captured last month in a Communistcon trolled area of northern Laos by Pathet Lao forces, a Laotian representative said here today. (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015. About Us | During this fighting, both platoon leaders were wounded, Lieutenant Casper in the leg and Lieutenant Jones in the foot. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 25,000 articles originally published in our nine magazines. My Lightboxes | only be entered from off the Bien Hoa Air base and thru the gate 0.24 The only trouble was that Charlie Company tracks were sitting in the road right in front of their bunkers. He said I would have to wait. Binh was a logistical mistake because the perimeter was so heavily armed The colonel explained that since we were infantry soldiers and did not know the proper method of searching a house, he and his crew had come to teach us. Through sporadic fire, we continued northwest on Highway 15 to where it intersected Highway 1 on the western edge of Bien Hoa. When the shooting started it bodies across the road began to bloat into a grotesque scene. He started 5. Dames killed them with a burst from his M-16 probably saving the lives of everyone on my track. Unfortunately for the VC, they had no weapons other than the RPG launcher. The only contact I had had with M-113 armored personnel carriers (APCs) was during a training exercise at the officers basic course just after I entered the Army. night on alert at the Birdcage, I was awakened (trying to sleep Come back up on the battalion freq.. [3]:2204, On 1 February Company B, 2/3rd Infantry, Company C, 4/12th Infantry and elements of 2/47th Infantry swept Ho Nai finding only dead VC/PAVN and civilians who had been murdered by the VC or killed in the fighting in the town. The village of Ho Nai, now a ghost town, still smoldered. biggest ordnance storage areas in the country. Charlie Company quickly reinforced Alpha, and a daylong fight ensued. For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Vietnam Magazine today! Perpetual Siege region. 4 Joseph Dames was tasked to return to the tracks for more grenades. Artillery My Dismounted troops of the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 47th Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, stay close to their M-113 armored personnel carriers (APCs) as they clear Widows Village, near Long Binh Army Post, of Viet Cong who had overrun it during the Communist 1968 Tet Offensive (National Archives). Troops opened their attacks with volleys of grenades, then charged in shooting. By Vietnam terms Barbed wire torn apart by Vietcong who infiltrated through Longbinh ammunition camp. Privacy Policy2023 CriticalPast LLC. Now someone pointed out that there were a lot of young men, all dressed in black pants and white shirts, walking among the refugees. Ive just been told you work for me again. In addition we detained more than 20 probable VC fighters dressed in civilian clothes. Ripped apart barbed wire. Benny Toney, the 2nd Platoon sergeant, hooked a tow cable to Stormy. This article was written by John E. Gross and originally published in the February 2008 issue of Vietnam Magazine. The battle was significant, since Alphas leadership was seriously depleted during the days immediately prior to Tet. When we arrived, we found the churchyard packed with thousands of civilians seeking refuge. [6]:36 In addition airborne "rocket watch" patrols were established in the Saigon-Bien Hoa area to reduce attacks by fire. I was not sure what to do about the bunkers we had dug. EXPLOSIONS IN DISTANCE more that happened that night. As darkness settled in, Charlie Company was ordered to move back the way it had come, to the junction of Highways 1 and 316, where we would form a screen in front of the 199th LIB base camp. Early on January 30, we were told the Tet cease-fire was canceled, and our unit was deployed into a defensive line along the road that ran around the east side of the Long Binh base. 118th during the Tet of 1968, also called the Defense of Bien October continued with construction efforts. I Ly's grandfather was a soldier stationed in Quang Binh during the war. As the C-23 track in the lead, Stormy, turned into a side street, a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) slammed into its front, smashing the radiator and wounding several soldiers. 26 VC/PAVN were killed in the attack and several captured. Widows Village made a perfect attack position for the VC, since it lay directly across Highway 316 from II Field Force headquarters in the Long Binh complex. The view is from the compound of the 20th. All of these placements were made with the wrongful assumption that the VC would attack from the jungles outside the base. I yelled at Lieutenant Casper, and everybody looked around as the VC tore out running the last few yards to safety. Meanwhile, Charlie Company was ordered back to III Corps. At 3 a.m. on January 31, I received a call from Major Bill Jones, who had recently taken Ionoffs place as operations officer. I called battalion headquarters and was told to forget about them, which reinforced our sense that combat was imminent. Long Binh, again (Feb. 1967). Sappers had placed satchel charges on pallets of artillery ammunition, and the resulting mushroom cloud caused all its witnesses to think the VC had employed a tactical nuclear weapon. During the last week of January, the battalion patrolled the jungles east of Highway 15, near the Binh Son rubber plantation. Its predominantly Catholic population was made up of many Vietnamese who fled North Vietnam in 1954 after the Viet Minh victory. The first explosion was 2,400,000 pounds of 8 inch high explosive artillery projectiles. Meanwhile, Huey gunships reported VC running from the village. It had been over two days and many of us had no sleep. Shoe of soldier on ground. had defended the Long Binh ammo dump and had helped in the Widow's Village fight. Dong Ha vietnam 1968 | Dong Ha ammo dump explosion from NVA artillery fire. Soon we could hear leaders moving up and down the bunker line yelling for the guards to stop firing. I assigned areas of operation to my two rifle platoons, and positioned the weapons platoon inside the compound as a reserve and security force. About a month earlier I had been loaned out to weld the razor As time passed, I became a mechanized soldier. The G3 adviser told me that they had received intelligence that Vo Nguyen Giap, the North Vietnamese commanding general (the enemy equivalent of General William Westmoreland), had his command post in a Catholic church about a kilometer east of III Corps. Jan. 31. Mainly it is the story of some of the finest solders to ever wear the uniform of the U.S. Army and how they reacted not only to fierce combat, but also to the fog of war. I was not sure what to do about the bunkers. The 2nd Platoon pulled the damaged track out of the side street and towed it back to the III Corps compound. Wrecked ambulance with flat tires. This is the story of one rifle company, and what it faced on that decisive day. I told him about the order to clear an area of operations equal in size to that assigned the airborne battalion.He said: Forget that. While much has been written about Tet and the political firestorm that resulted, in the hundreds of surprise battles and skirmishes that unfolded, individual units found themselves thrust into intense danger, turmoil, chaos, confusion, contradictions and outright lunacy as they responded to Viet Cong (VC) attacks. 200 pounds. Blood stains in ambulance. agreement was that the stockade prisoners would pitch our sandbags, help I called III Corps and reported that we had detained all of these people, and was told to wait until the Vietnamese National Police arrived to take charge. We were ordered to go there and detain every male between the ages of 16 and 80. We use cookies on this website. flight line and I was checking the bunker for anyone, I heard Having been struck by mortars or rockets, the fuel tanks at the air base, as well as several buildings throughout Bien Hoa, were burning brightly. Meanwhile, Hueys reported VC running from the village. As the sun sank over the Long Binh base, they tossed a football and ate cold C rations. He retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel. The recon platoon was ordered to establish a blocking position south of Long Binh on Highway 15. 0.54 At 03:45 the unit engaged the VC/PAVN with 2 ACAVs being quickly knocked out by RPG fire. As my airborne mentality faded, I learned to love the M-113or track. We could haul more personal gear, live more comfortably and walk less than straight-leg troops. ], The Laotian representative said six members of the Meo special forces were also cap tured with the American on May 7 in Xieng Khouang Province near the North Vietnamese bor der. Initials PW/VS/JH/BB/ES PW/VS/JH/ES We had run through the rear of the 274th VC Regiment, which was attacking the airfield. However, Charlie Company slammed into the VC before they could organize their attack. 8. I said again, "Who is there"? Tower had called and told me that Charlie Company was under the operational control of III Corps and I was to take my orders from them. ", "I then went to the CP and tried Ly's father is a bricklayer. Bringing that volatile convoy through the city, which had not been totally cleared and was still burning in many places, was a tremendously heroic act. Dressed as travelers returning to ancestral homes for the Tet holiday, the guerrillas had quietly drifted into their urban assembly areas and put together their weapons. The battalion made only sporadic contact and suffered few casualties. Click Here. As we rolled by, we looked down into the compound and saw soldiers in khakis milling about with boarding passes in hand. unless they could see someone, I went to our Operations shack While I was in training, my motivation was to get these wings and I wear them today proudly, the airman recalled in 2015. Bravo Company was sent to protect the Long Binh ammunition dump and Charlie Company was ordered into downtown Bien Hoa, where the ARVN III Corps headquarters was in danger of being overrun.

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